Tag Archive | "Cesar Milani"

Army Chief Milani to Resign From Post for ‘Personal Reasons’

César Milani after being promoted by the president (Photo: Tito La Penna/Télam/dsl)

César Milani after being promoted by the president (Photo: Tito La Penna/Télam/dsl)

Argentine Army chief César Milani has submitted a request to resign from his position, according to a military press release today.

According to the statement, Milani’s request is based on “strictly personal reasons”.

Milani was proposed as the new head of the army by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in June 2013, with his appointment eventually ratified by the Senate the following December.

His appointment was controversial due to claims that he was involved in crimes against humanity during the last military dictatorship.

Specifically, documents gathered by human rights groups and presented by the Centre of Social and Legal Studies (CELS) link Milani to the disappearance of conscript Alberto Ledo in Tucumán in 1976, as well as the illegal detention of Pedro and Ramón Olivera in La Rioja in 1977.

Milani has always denied any involvement in these crimes, but CELS challenged the decision to promote him and called for a complete investigation into his past. A report published in December 2013 stated: “We don’t affirm that [Milani] tortured people, but we find his claims that he did not know others were doing so unacceptable. For that reason, we believe that he does not deserve the confidence that a democracy should have in its army chief.”

The government defended its decision, stating that Milani had not been charged with any crime and must be presumed innocent until that changes.

So far there has been no official response to Milani’s request.

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Army Chief Denies ‘Irregularities’ in Kidnapping Investigation

César Milani after being promoted by the president (Photo: Tito La Penna/Télam/dsl)

César Milani after being promoted by the president (Photo: Tito La Penna/Télam/dsl)

Army Chief César Milani has denied receiving any special treatment or immunity in the investigation into his alleged role in the kidnapping and torture of Ramón Olivera and his father, Alfredo, in 1977.

In an official press release issued yesterday, Milani rejected claims made by the Centre of Legal and Social Studies (CELS) that his testimony and defence was given more weight than those of the victims. “It is false that, for being the current army chief, I am afforded impunity or the possibility to be tried under a different standard of proof,” said Milani.

On Saturday, CELS reported that there were “serious irregularities” in the Milani case in La Rioja after the prosecutor Michel Horacio Salman called for the investigation into the army chief to be closed because the acts of which he is being accused are not considered crimes.

Milani, who in 1977 was a sub-lieutenant based in La Rioja, has been named by Ramón Olivera on several occasions as being the person that transferred him from a clandestine detention centre to the courts in La Rioja. In July 2013, Olivera also declared that he recognised Milani as leading the operation to kidnap his father, Alfredo.

However, Salman determined that the accusations of Milani’s involvement in the detention of Olivera were “unfounded”, and that participating in the transfer of prisoners as ordered by a federal judge was not a crime. In response, CELS said that this gave validity to anti-subversive legislation approved in the 1970s that has since been repealed.

“Salman is the third prosecutors to be involved in the case. He has not pushed the investigation forward, and only three months after taking the case he asks judge Daniel Herrera Piedrabuena to close it,” read the statement from CELS, which also published a detailed and critical analysis of Salman’s actions.

The organisation concluded that if the request to close the investigation was upheld by the judge, it would mark “the biggest setback since the reopening of trials for crimes against humanity in 2001.”



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Senate Ratifies Controversial Pick for Head of Armed Forces

César Milani (Photo: Tito La Penna/Télam/dsl)

César Milani (Photo: Tito La Penna/Télam/dsl)

Last night, after six hours of debate, the senate approved the president’s pick for head of the military, Cesar Milani, by 39 to 30. Most of the votes in favour came from the ruling party the Frente para la Victoria.

As a result, César Santos Gerardo del Corazón de Jesús Milani, will be promoted from major-general to lieutenant-general.

Students and human rights organisations gathered outside the Congress building, where the debate took place, to protest.

Milani has been linked to crimes against humanity committed during the last Argentine dictatorship, rendering him an unpopular choice for head of the armed forces with many human rights groups.

Human rights movements have been allied with the Kirchner administration for years, but Milani’s promotion has the potential to greatly damage the relationship. The Centre for Legal and Social Studies, which is always consulted before military promotions, challenged the Senate’s approval of Milani.

Amongst the accusations made against Milani is that of having taken part in the abduction of Ramón Alfredo Olivera, a political prisoner in La Rioja province. Judge Daniel Rafecas is also investigating Milani for alleged embezzlement.

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New Doubts Over Appointment of Military Chief César Milani

César Milani after being promoted by the president (Photo: Tito La Penna/Télam/dsl)

César Milani after being promoted by the president (Photo: Tito La Penna/Télam/dsl)

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner yesterday decided to postpone the Senate debate over the appointment of military general César Milani until the end of the year, after October’s legislative elections, to coincide with the normal time for discussions over promotions of other military officials.

The ruling comes after the Centre of Legal and Social Studies (CELS) submitted a document yesterday that provides information of “court records” and “national and provincial actions” that link the leader to repressive military events during the dictatorship, and advised the government to “reject” Milani’s promotion to military chief.  

The CELS document follows recent request by Nora Cortiñas of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo-Línea Fundadora, for the government to carry out an “in depth” investigation on Miliani.

Congress had moved to debate the appointment of the military chief in light of this document, but yesterday President Fernández resolved to wait on the arbitration.

“On the instructions of the president of the nation, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the processing of the promotion of military leaders of various sections will be suspended until the time to review the promotions of all the members of the Armed Forces,“ reported a group of senators representing the ruling Frente para la Victora (FpV) party.

“The decision was made in light of the obvious distortion of the procedure, with clear electoral intention, and with the need to prevent the Armed Forces from turning into a object of electoral dispute, something totally unrelated to their specific roles and missions,” continued the statement, signed by the president of the Senate Resolutions Committee, Marcelo Guinle, and the head of the Front for Victory (FPV), Miguel Pichetto, after meeting with President Fernández and Defence Minister, Agustín Rossi, in the Casa Rosada.

The latest statement by CELS came after an interview with Milani was published in Página 12 on Sunday, in which he failed to mention that in 1976 he had signed a brief falsely naming conscript Alberto Ledo a deserter. Ledo was disappeared in Tucumán during the last dictatorship.

The journalist who interviewed the military leader, Raúl Kollman, wrote today that Milani had asked him to clarify his remarks. “During the interview this weekend, Milani also told me that he had signed the records made in La Rioja for the desertion of Ledo: ‘We were four lieutenants and we took the records by random to sign’,” he said.

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Nora Cortiñas Asks for New Army Chief to be Investigated

Nora Cortiñas during a conference in Madrid, Spain (photo courtesy of Sigrun Espe/SLUG)

Nora Cortiñas during a conference in Madrid, Spain (photo courtesy of Sigrun Espe/SLUG)

Nora Cortiñas of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo-Línea Fundadora, called for the government to carry out an “in depth” investigation on César Milani, the newly appointed head of the Army, and on his actions during the dictatorship. The suspicions on Milano “tarnish the government’s image,” according to Cortiñas.

In June 2013, president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner appointed him as head of the Army, a move that was highly criticised by the opposition and by personalities such as Nobel Peace Prize Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.

The criticism focused on Milani’s alleged links with the “Operation Independence”, a military operation which sought to eliminate the left-wing guerrillas in Tucumán in 1975.

On Tuesday, Milani was accused by a former political prisoner during the dictatorship, of having kidnapped and beaten him repeatedly in a La Rioja prison in 1977.

The army chief spontaneously appeared before a judge this morning and denied his involvement in “the alleged deeds that have been attributed [to him] by some media.”

For Cortiñas, “if [Milani] had a such important role that allowed him to do intelligence operations, we could presume that he at least was aware of what was going on during those years.”

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President Reshuffles Military Top Tier

Agustin Rossi with Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

Agustin Rossi with Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner replaced heads of the armed forces yesterday, in a surprise move that comes just weeks after former lawmaker Agustín Rossi was named new Defence Minister.

Recently appointed Rossi ratified the Armed Forces’ shuffle, considering the turnover of the military heads was an “indispensable” move “it allows for promotions to consolidate themselves and in this way free new spaces. It is something that is necessary in any sphere.”

Luis María Carena replaces Jorge Alberto Chevalier as head of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, and Division General César Milani replaces Lieutenant General Luis Alberto Pozzi as new head of the Armed Forces.

President Fernández and Rossi thanked the leaving generals in an official document, where they expressed their gratitude “to those who accomplished in this time such important responsibilities, putting all their energy, their intelligence and capability to the service of the nation”.

The document included a special mention for Brigadier General Chevalier “who accompanied us during the last decade, and was part of the first changes impulsed by Néstor Kirchner when he just took office”.

In further changes, Admiral Gastón Fernando Erice will also replace Daniel Alberto Enrique Martín, who had taken office in the middle of the prolonged controversial conflict with the Fragata Libertad, as the new head of the Army, while Mayor Brigadier Mario Miguel Callejo, ex-combatant in the Falklands, is going to command the Air Force.

Milani’s promotion is seen to be controversial as his file was requested earlier this year by prosecutor Pablo Camuña, who is investigating the crimes committed in the “Independence Operation” carried out in 1975 in the province of Tucumán, months before the 1976 military coup.

Posted in News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (0)

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